Osheaga was raging by the time I arrived on Sunday, well into the dance floor that could be mistaken for The Cat Empire’s set. I wandered around from stage to stage, catching different acts. A few last minute changes were prompted by the cancellation of Disclosure, and Grammatik ended up on the main stage to fill the space (well worth it!).
The Piknic Electronik stage was a madhouse from beat to beat. It’s probably my favorite place to land — though I am partial to djs these days. I love the vibe, the boundless feeling of love (insert your drug reference here), the joyful dancing, the sweat, the water cannons. Every single dj and in some cases, electronic performers, just gave it their all and the crowd gave it right back.It was a beautiful sight every time I came, all those writhing people. I caught Lane 8 and Baauer here, as well as Australians Rufus Du Sol who I believe attracted many converts.
I spent less time on the Arbres and Vallée stages. Alas. St. Lucia was oh-so-very Brooklyn. That’s not a bad thing. Brooklyn is a cool place that’s on the pulse of so many different musical currents, though things tend to shake out in either hip hop or new wave. In this case, St. Lucia had synths swirling — a new wave party sound — making this stage the epicentre of indie-cool. Jean Philip Grobler sprung about, lay on his back, and delivered like a boss. The whole band was on fire with him.
I had a tough time choosing between Haelos and Koriass (and because of Radiohead, I never got to the Dead Obies or Allie X). Haelos is a British trio focused on melancholy and trip hop for this moody, soul touching stuff. It’s the kind of thing I associate with grey journeys through a Shoreditch club. A handful of lucky folk saw them play, largely because M83 was on at the same time.
I was drawn to the mainstages from the get-go. I didn’t want to miss M83, hotly anticipated since the electronic music meets rock band always seems appear on music playlists. They’ve done the Osheaga thing before and looked more than happy to dream-pop the crowd with lush songs. Their yoga-vibe-ambience was replaced by a more rock sound. I kept thinking of Coldplay and I hope that isn’t some kind of music crime.
In particular, I wanted to savor local-hero Grimes. She’s girly and I fucking love it. Let me clarify: she’s girly in the way the “throw-like-a-girl” viral campaign has reinvented the phrase. Girly in a girly-tough way. Girly in a you don’t need to act like a man to be strong way. At any rate, Grimes apologized multiple times for being ill and not dancing like she should. I don’t have previous performances to compare, but she seemed lively enough to me, bouncing around and taking up her instruments. Grimes along with her all-woman dance/instruments/vocals troupe (reminiscent of the Spice Girls, might I add) contorted as if starring in the actions sequences of Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, and made a patchwork of trans-genre music.
Grammatik stepped up to replace Disclosure. Amazing cards! The dj was backed by a guitarist and the result lit it up. Imagine funky bass notes, Americana strumming, deep beats. Holy smoley. Though confusing to many, I think the crowd got over it all the same.
Radiohead, right, that’s what everyone came to see. The set started twenty minutes early, and truth be told, you couldn’t get near the stage they were on. Unlike the rest of the performances, where it was easy to watch the performance on the big screen, the cameras for the went all artsy with this narrow split screen verticals of the band members. I lasted a few songs — Burn the Witch all the way to Nude. I didn’t make it to Creep. That’s okay. I’ve seen Radiohead perform once or twice in my life. I even saw them open for Alanis Morissette some ridiculous number of years ago when I was a disaffected youth. When I can’t see the band and my migraine is an 11 out of 10 on the pain scale it’s time to call it quitting time. Sorry Dead Obies. We’ll meet at some point!
Until next year, Osheaga. Stay beautiful.